Play For Dream mixed reality headset: an improved clone of the Apple Vision Pro

Based on these factors alone, I’m tempted to call the Play For Dream MR a better product. But there’s a giant elephant in the room: it looks almost exactly like the Vision Pro, except for a darker paint color. Here are our first impressions of the product.

Hardware and design

The Play For Dream MR is one of the first devices to run on Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon XR2+ Gen 2 silicon, which was unveiled six months ago specifically for Vision Pro competitors.

The Play For Dream mixed reality headset (above) is a clear clone of the Apple Vision Pro. Photo: Ben Sin

From the viewfinder-like external screen to the mesh-cushioned eyepiece, right-hand rotating dial and headband shape, it’s a clear clone of the Vision Pro.

If you can get past the copycat look, there’s a lot to like.

Although the total weight of the headset is not far off that of the Vision Pro, it feels much lighter on my head. I was told by Play For Dream that this is due to the even weight distribution, with a small battery pack on the back of the head strap. (The Vision Pro is uncomfortable not only because of its weight, but also because the weight is completely front-loaded.)

The Play For Dream mixed reality headset can be controlled via hand gestures or two remote controllers that are an optional extra. Photo: Ben Sin

The Play For Dream headset uses two Micro-OLED displays, sourced from Chinese vendor BOE, that project a combined visual equivalent of 8K resolution, sharper than that of the Vision Pro, which is above 4K but well below 8K. Resolution matters here because the visuals produced by this headset seem even more vivid than Apple’s, thanks to their greater clarity and lack of noise.

During the demo I was shown a space video clip of a woman standing in front of me, appearing life-size. It looked so real that it took my brain a second to register what I was seeing.

The commercial version of the headset will have a battery built into the headset so it can be used without connecting to an external battery pack. However, the prototype units I tested did not have this feature.

An image of a space video clip of a woman seen through the Play For Dream mixed reality headset. Photo: Ben Sin

Software and Features

The Play For Dream MR runs a proprietary launcher based on Android 14, which means Android apps can run on the headset. This brings another benefit over Apple’s Vision Pro, which has a closed ecosystem with an app selection lacking compared to other Apple products.

The headset can also mirror the screens of a multi-screen Windows laptop, meaning the user can have multiple floating screens from just one laptop. It is not known if it will support Mac screen mirroring.

The headphones are controlled by hand gestures or using two remote joystick controllers that will be an optional purchase.

The Play For Dream mixed reality headset can mirror screens from a multi-screen Windows laptop, meaning the user can have multiple floating screens from just one laptop. Photo: Ben Sin

Early impressions

When I first saw the Play For Dream MR, I was disappointed by the lack of original design. But once I put the headphones on and saw the footage, I was sold. I like the Vision Pro, but it just seems too heavy. Play For Dream has already solved that big issue.

As a digital nomad who works off a laptop, I look forward to being able to wear headphones on a plane or in a coffee shop and work off multiple large screens.

However, the product is still months away from commercial launch. Play For Dream staff say the headset will go on sale in October in China; in Singapore and Malaysia soon after; followed by Thailand and Vietnam. Retail price is also undecided, though the team promises it will be less than US$2,000.

I will be in line to buy one.

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